Turkey denies plans for joint talks with Obama, MB in Washington

Arab World Materials 8 August 2013 09:19 (UTC +04:00)
Turkey denies plans for joint talks with Obama, MB in Washington
Turkey denies plans for joint talks with Obama, MB in Washington

Turkey has denied media reports in an Egyptian daily that suggested that Turkish diplomats are expected to attend talks US President Barack Obama will hold with members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Washington, D.C., this month to press for the reinstatement of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Today`s Zaman reported.

The US president is going to meet with officials from the Muslim Brotherhood, a political movement to which Morsi belongs, in Washington, according to the news story that appeared in Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

A top diplomat from the Foreign Ministry told Today's Zaman, on the condition of anonymity, that the claims were untrue and that the ministry did not have any information regarding the Egyptian media report.

Sources from the Brotherhood apparently spoke to the Egyptian daily about their expectations from Turkish diplomats at the Washington meeting. According to details of the news story, the diplomats will push for the reinstatement of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president. If these efforts do not yield any results, then reportedly the Turkish diplomats will demand that members of the Brotherhood who have been arrested and whose assets have been frozen be released and that they be allowed to continue to be politically active.

The news report also claimed that Hassan Malek, a prominent businessman in the Brotherhood, had funded the so-called upcoming joint talks with the group by getting into contact with Obama's office.

A recent mediation effort of the US, the EU, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to end the political crisis in Egypt was rejected by jailed Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat El-Shater on Monday. A Brotherhood spokesman said El-Shater cut the meeting with the US and EU envoys short, saying they should be talking to Morsi.

The Egyptian daily's claims about the Obama-MB meeting came amid work on a new international roadmap that Ankara is developing to put an end to the chaos in Egypt. According to this plan, Turkey is working with the US, the EU and the African Union (AU) on a proposal that stipulates that the deposed Egyptian leader and other members of the Brotherhood that were arrested following the overthrow be released.

Speaking to a small group of journalists on his way back to Ankara from Tehran on Monday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the roadmap also stipulates that a "civil council" that will include participation from all sides should be established and a "civil roadmap" should be prepared.

In his remarks that appeared in the Star daily on Tuesday, the Turkish foreign minister said a delegation from Turkey is now holding talks with Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who ousted Morsi and members of the Brotherhood.

According to the roadmap, an interim prime minister and a government of technocrats should be assigned to reassure each group in Egypt about the political process and calm the public. Then, Egypt would be expected to write a new constitution and elect a new president.

"The delegation that is working on this [roadmap] is now having talks in Cairo. One of the most important points is that the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] should not resort to violence," Davutoglu said, the Star daily reported.

Davutoglu's roadmap was also confirmed by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Gumrukcu on Tuesday during a press briefing. He said Ankara was in close contact with the international community about a possible means of returning to democracy in Egypt.

"Turkey is exerting efforts for a return to democracy [in Egypt] by remaining in contact with all sides," said Gumrukcu. He added that, first, the deposed Egyptian leader and members of the Muslim Brotherhood should be released to be able to end the crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his British counterpart David Cameron on Tuesday to discuss developments in Syria as well as Egypt.

It was not immediately clear if the Turkish prime minister was discussing the proposed roadmap with Cameron.